“If your passport expires in the next year or two, we recommend starting the renewal process months in advance, not just weeks,” said Vicky Garcia, COO and co-owner of Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative.
Coral Springs, Fla. (PRWEB) September 14, 2016
The number of Americans applying for passport renewals is surging this year and is expected to increase through 2018, causing delays in the renewal process. Cruise Planners travel advisors have access to the largest and most well-established travel visa and passport company in the world to assist clients with obtaining the proper travel documentation during this time.
“Cruise Planners’ travel advisors help travelers with an easy way to process passports and documents accurately and swiftly,” said Vicky Garcia, COO of Cruise Planners. “At Cruise Planners, we partner with the right companies to equip our agents with the tools needed to be efficient full-service travel agents.”
This backlog in passport renewals is the result of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which came into effect in 2006, requiring U.S. citizens and legitimate international travelers to present passports when returning by air from Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean and Bermuda. The surge of passports issued in 2006 are now reaching their 10-year expiration, resulting in an estimated 18 million new passports and renewals expected to be issued this year.
Processing time for renewals is estimated to be six weeks this year, an increase from last year’s four-week average. Cruise Planners now offers expedited passport and visa processing without requiring in-person appointments. Your Cruise Planners travel advisor is able to help process paperwork and apply for any visas that may be needed for your travels. Adults requesting a passport for the first time must submit an application and $135 fee in person at selected post offices, courthouses, or other designated agencies.
“If your passport expires in the next year or two, we recommend starting the renewal process months in advance, not just weeks,” Garcia said. “This way when an international vacation opportunity arises, you aren’t held back by paperwork issues. Right now, there are great last-minute airfare rates to parts of Europe, so starting the process early also prevents extra fees for expedited services.”
Travelers may be able to circumvent passport requirements when traveling on closed-loop cruises departing from and returning to the same U.S. city. However, Cruise Planners always recommends travelers carry a passport when visiting international destinations for identification and emergency purposes. Cruise Planners also has a Passport Vault within its mobile application so clients can access a virtual copy of their passport from anywhere in the world.
“We make it easy for travelers to explore the world,” said Garcia. “Passport assistance is just one more service we proudly offer our valued clients.”
To locate a travel agent near you, visit http://www.cruiseplanners.com/.
About Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative
Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, is the nation’s largest home-based travel agent franchise network in the travel industry. Cruise Planners operates a network of more than 1,400 franchise owners who independently book amazing vacation and travel experiences for their clients. The Florida-based Home Office Team positions a nation-wide network of franchise owners for success by providing innovative marketing, booking and technology tools, as well as professional development and hands-on training with the industry’s top executives. The company continues to be lauded and has been named the No.1 travel franchise by Entrepreneur magazine for 13 consecutive years. Cruise Planners was recently featured in Entrepreneur as one of the top 30 franchise innovators in technology, has been consistently named as one of the Top Women-Owned Businesses by the South Florida Business Journal, is on the Inc. 5000 list as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America, has been ranked as the #1 travel franchise by Franchise Business Review for 5 years in a row, and was recognized as one of the Top Workplaces by the Sun Sentinel since it started ranking companies.
Headquartered in Coral Springs, Fla. with more than 22 years of experience, Cruise Planners has achieved top producer status with every major cruise line. Accolades include numerous Magellan Awards from Travel Weekly for the past seven years, American Express Travel Representative Excellence Award for 11 consecutive years (2004-2014), American Express Agency of the Year (2010), Royal Caribbean International Chairman’s Award (2015), Royal Caribbean International President’s Award for Overall Achievement (2012 and 2014), Royal Caribbean International Home-Based Partner of the Year (2007-2013), Norwegian Cruise Line Franchise Agency of the Year (2011-2015), Celebrity Cruises Field Sales Account of the Year (2015), Celebrity Cruises Home-Based Account of the Year (2013-2014) and Celebrity Cruises Southeast Region Travel Agent Partner of the Year (2010), American Express Vacations Best of the Best Globe Award (2008-2015), Globus Family of Brands Premier Agency Partner (2009-2014), Platinum Member of the 500 Club for Sales Excellence (2014), Platinum Circle Member with Viking River Cruises (2009-2012), Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection Top Producer (2008-2014) and Regent Seven Seas Cruises Top Producer. Cruise Planners is one of the Top 50 franchises for Veterans according to GI magazine, the Top Franchise Brand for Veterans according to Franchise Business Review, has been named one of the Top 25 franchises for African-Americans by Black Enterprise magazine and is a member of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association. For more information, visit http://www.cruiseplanners.com.
Stay in Touch: Media can stay up-to-date with Cruise Planners by visiting our media room, following us on Twitter @Cruisitude or on Facebook. For additional information or to make reservations, vacationers should locate a travel advisor near them. For those interested in becoming a franchise owner, please visit our franchise website.